Assessment using StoneSoup Portfolio Units
StoneSoup portfolio units provide an alternative assessment method with multiple advantages over standardized testing. These include validity, authenticity, and web-accessibility. This type of assessment gives students the opportunity to show what they know. Creating portfolio units is an authentic, learner-centered exercise providing a meaningful educational experiences that can be linked directly to state learning standards.
Problems with assessment based on standardized tests:
- They can cause a pedagogical shift towards “teaching to the test.”
- Test scores provide little in the way of feedback and do not enhance learning.
- A system of rewards and punishment is frequently associated with test scores, barring the path to life-long learning.
- High-stakes accountability frequently inhibits schools and teachers from providing meaningful learning
- Multiple-choice and short-answer tasks require “on demand” responses without reflection.
- They fail to tap both higher order thinking skills and students’ abilities to perform real world tasks.
- Students learn in non-standard ways. Tests can only captured standardized learning.
Portfolios are a prominent alternative assessment method. Benefits of portfolio assessment:
- They integrate assessment into the daily curriculum and instructional activities.
- Results are demonstrable and justifiable to parents and administrators.
- They consist of real instances, rather than proxies or estimators of actual learning goals.
- Throughout the creation of portfolio units, the student is self-assessing and reflecting on his/her experience
- They foster meta-cognition and critical, higher-order thinking skills
- They help students understand the objectives of their learning and what they need to achieve.
- They tell the story of the student's efforts, progress, or achievement.
- They capture an array of what students know and can do.
- They portray the processes by which work is accomplished.
- They can be used for formative and summative assessment .
- They offer all students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of content and performance goals.
- They allow students to demonstrate a range of abilities and achievement.
- Students can create their own linkages to national/state standards.
Assessment consists of the use of rubrics that seek to align student work to state standards. This comparison can be done by teachers or by the students themselves. In the future, portions of this process can be automated. This makes it possible to assess student performance in new ways. For example;
Assessment in an Inquiry Classroom
- In Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, children earn merit badges by reviewing sets of criteria. Then, with the guidance of their scout master, they conduct appropriate activities. When they finish, they present oral or written reports as evidence that they have earned their merit badge.
- With the adoption of state standards, the criteria for K12 achievement has been established. If the criteria for achieving these standards is understood by students, they can select and conduct appropriate learning activities. Teachers are their guides, coaches and mentors. Students use portfolio units to report their activities. The units then become the evidence and the record of their achievements.
Web-Based Student Portfolio Unit: An Information Structure for Assessment